The Evening Blues - 8-7-18



eb1pt12



The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Aretha Franklin



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features soul and gospel singer Aretha Franklin. Enjoy!



Aretha Franklin & Duane Allman - The Weight

"If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known."

-- George C. Marshall


News and Opinion


Trump just threatened the EU for not allowing his Iran sanctions to bring about “world peace”

Donald Trump is back at war with the European Union, tweeting Tuesday that “anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.” The warning came hours after EU lawmakers signaled their intent to defy the U.S. sanctions against Tehran that came into effect at midnight.

“I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump added.

Even harsher sanctions related to oil exports are scheduled to hit Iran later this year. “These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level,” Trump tweeted. ...

Trump appears to believe only economic sanctions will force Iran to change its behavior. He warned Tehran Monday that it must “either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy or continue down a path of economic isolation.” Trump said he remains open to a more comprehensive deal “that addresses the full range of the regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism.”

Just last month, Trump and the EU narrowly avoided a trade war, agreeing to hold talks on increasing trade between the two regions. But Trump’s Iran sanctions could reopen that simmering feud.

Iran sanctions: "Trump wants it to be about him"

Saudi group posts photo of plane about to hit Toronto's CN tower amid spat

A Saudi Arabian organisation has apologised for tweeting a digitally-altered image that showed a plane flying towards Toronto’s CN Tower – in an apparent reference to a 9/11-style attack – amid an escalating row over Canada’s call for the release of detained human rights activists in the kingdom. Infographic KSA, a pro-government Saudi Twitter account, shared the image on Monday, hours after Riyadh announced it had expelled the Canadian ambassador and suspended new trade and investment with Ottawa. ...

The image, which showed an Air Canada plane aimed at Toronto’s skyline, attracted criticism soon after it was posted. Some saw the image as a veiled reference to the 9/11 attacks on the US, in which 2,996 people were killed after 19 hijackers flew airliners into the World Trade Center’s twin towers and the Pentagon. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi nationals. Captions on the image spoke of “sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t belong”, while another warned: “He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.” ...

The post comes during a high-profile spat that began when Global Affairs Canada expressed its “grave concern” over the imprisonment of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia. ... On Sunday, the Saudi foreign ministry said it had given the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador to Canada. The country’s education ministry is reportedly looking to move thousands of Saudi scholarship students out of Canadian schools, while Saudi Arabia’s state airline said it would suspend flights to and from Toronto.

How the UAE is destroying Yemen

Saudi Arabia often takes the most criticism for Yemen's crisis, in light of its devastating bombing campaign. But the United Arab Emirates is attracting increasing scrutiny for actions that are tantamount to war crimes in the country. Since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in Yemen in March 2015, the UAE has been a key player. Yet, while Riyadh's goal has been to restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and crush the Houthi uprising, Abu Dhabi has focused more on the south, training security forces to secure its own geopolitical ambitions. The UAE's long-term goals have become increasingly clear: to divide Yemen and create a friendly southern state, which would secure trade routes through the port of Aden to the rest of the world; to exploit Yemen’s natural resources; and to empower itself as a regional hegemon.

To justify its presence in Yemen, the Emirati regime is fixated on presenting itself as a force for stability. It often highlights charitable donations of humanitarian aid to the country, while dismissing reports of its role in unlawful detention practices as "fake news". Despite this benevolent guise, evidence shows the UAE is not a force for good in Yemen. Human rights groups have cited torture and other abuses within UAE-backed prisons in southern Yemen, and the Associated Press last month reported on the use of sexual assault "to brutalise and break inmates". Amnesty International has also chronicled the practice of forced disappearance. ...

The UAE's support for southern independence has failed to create any kind of unity, as Abu Dhabi has backed different groups, such as the Hadrami Elite Forces, which want an independent Hadramaut rather than a unified southern Yemen and have committed abuses such as arbitrary detentions. The UAE's rift with Saudi Arabia has also been problematic. Riyadh has supported Islah, Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood branch, as a stable ally on the ground. But the UAE opposes the Brotherhood, instead backing militants who maintain non-hostile relations with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - which it is supposed to be fighting - to counteract Islah, researcher Helen Lackner notes in her book Yemen in Crisis. As such, the UAE is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

While some observers argue that southern secession is a preferable option, the UAE's strategy involves far too large a human cost - and any UAE-friendly government would only benefit the Emiratis, rather than the people of Yemen. It is hypocritical for the UAE to criticise the Houthis for their divisiveness and failure to move towards peace, while it does the same.

Millions Flow to Pentagon’s Banned Contractors Via a Back Door

Some of the world’s largest companies have benefited from a little-known law that lets the Defense Department override decisions barring contractors accused or convicted of bribery, fraud, theft, and other crimes from doing business with the government.

International Business Machines Corp., Boeing Co., BP Plc, and several other contractors have received special dispensation to fulfill multimillion-dollar government contracts through “compelling reason determinations.” That process allows the Defense Department in rare cases to determine that the need to fulfill certain contracts justifies doing business with companies that have been suspended from government work. The 22 determinations were released by the General Services Administration at the request of Bloomberg Government, allowing for the first collective examination of the cases and the system that allowed them.

The determinations, also referred to as waivers or overrides, included contracts to provide food services for Defense Department personnel at an Army base in Afghanistan, “vital” web-hosting services for an agency that serves the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community, and aviation fuel sold to the Defense Logistics Agency. In some instances, contracting officials said the overrides were matters of life or death. Companies receiving waivers included some accused or convicted of major fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, ethical bidding violations, and in the case of fuel-seller BP, an overall “lack of business integrity.” ...

The law requires officials issuing such waivers to notify the GSA so the agency can maintain the notices on a “publicly accessible website to the maximum extent practicable.” Pentagon officials sometimes have not followed that requirement until scolded by the Government Accountability Office—and on occasion even that hasn’t been enough. Details surrounding four waivers by the Army and another four by the Air Force dating back more than 14 years still haven’t been provided to GSA. “The law is not being properly enforced, and there’s a definite lack of transparency,” Neil Gordon, an investigator with the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington ethics watchdog group, told Bloomberg Government. “These are risky companies accused of serious crimes. It’s a real problem.”

Here's an excerpt from an interview with journalist/filmmaker John Pilger about Julian Assange. It's worth a read.

Pilger Excoriates Media on Assange Silence

DB: John, what is the latest we know about how Julian Assange is being treated and his current state?

John Pilger: His state of health is just about the same, as I understand it. He needs medical attention, the kind of treatment you get only in a hospital. But it has been made clear to him that if he attempts to go to a hospital he will not be given free passage and he will be arrested. Since he was arrested in 2010, Assange has not been charged with a single crime. His treatment amounts to the most unprecedented persecution. Julian could leave the embassy if his own government, the government of his homeland, Australia, applied legitimate diplomatic pressure on behalf of its citizen. We must ask ourselves why this hasn’t happened.

My own feeling is that there is a great deal of collusion between the Australian, the British and the US governments–meant to close down WikiLeaks completely and/or deliver Julian Assange to the Americans. Recently the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, traveled with senior officials to London and to Washington and raised the whole matter of Julian. But they raised it in a way that didn’t support the idea that a government should represent its citizens. These people listened to the more powerful governments. In Washington they met Mr. Pompeo, who refused to discuss Assange altogether. I think there is collusion which amounts to an attempt to try to do a deal with Assange whereby he might be allowed free passage of return to Australia if he shuts down WikiLeaks. I think that is very, very likely.

As I understand Julian, this is something he would not even contemplate. But that might be one of the so-called “wretched deals” that are being offered Assange. Some very strange things are being said by senior members of these two governments. The new foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, said sarcastically that the British police would offer Julian “a warm welcome” when he came out, when he would face serious charges. There are no serious charges. He hasn’t been charged with anything.

Was Hunt referring to a deal which has already been done with the United States on extradition? I don’t know. But this is the milieu of machination around someone who has the right of natural justice concerning his freedom. Putting aside freedom of speech, the persecution of this man has been something that should horrify all free-thinking people. If it doesn’t horrify us, then we have surrendered something very valuable.

Ecuador’s president issues new threat to Julian Assange

In a tweet and television interview, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno has declared he will “take measures” against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange unless he stops “intervening” in the politics and affairs of countries. Moreno’s tweet yesterday stated: “To Mr. Assange we have put a condition: That he stop intervening in politics and self-determination of the country. Otherwise, measures will be taken.” These “measures” can only mean forcing Assange out of Ecuador’s London embassy, to be immediately arrested by the British police and imprisoned, pending extradition proceedings by the Trump administration.

Moreno’s talk about Assange “intervening” in the politics of other countries is absurd. The journalist has been totally gagged by the Ecuadorian government: he has been denied all visitors and has had his internet access blocked by electronic jammers. To talk about Assange “intervening” in the politics of other governments under these conditions is nothing but a cynical attempt to create a pretext for handing him over to the notorious war criminals in Washington and London. These measures are aimed at denying basic political free speech to Assange and WikiLeaks, the best-known site in the world for exposing the war crimes, coup plots and mass surveillance of the US government and its allies. ...

The Ecuadorian president, who is desperately seeking close relations with Washington and US investment, seems to be trying to condition public opinion in Ecuador and internationally for Assange’s imminent eviction from the embassy. ... These comments follow Moreno’s explicit statement last week that his government was willing to hand over Assange to Britain to be extradited to the US, provided only that the authorities in Washington offered what would be a worthless promise not to assassinate Assange or seek the death penalty against him.

Even the FBI Agrees: When Undercover Agents Pose as Journalists, It Hurts Real Journalists’ Work

The FBI doesn't want the public to know more about how its agents pose as journalists during undercover investigations. But, in a federal court case, Justice Department lawyers confirmed the most significant criticism of the controversial practice. The government acknowledged in a court filing that FBI agents who pretend to be journalists create a chilling effect, making it harder for real journalists to gain trust and cooperation from sources. The astonishing admission came as the FBI attempted to fend off litigation from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which has filed requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Reporters Committee’s litigation involves documents related to an FBI undercover operation in which agents posed as documentary filmmakers from a fake company called Longbow Productions to investigate Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters. In response to the Reporters Committee’s records request, the FBI issued a Glomar response — in which the agency neither confirms nor denies that it possesses records relevant to the FOIA request.

In a motion filed July 23, Assistant U.S. Attorney Johnny H. Walker argued that providing FBI documents about the Bundy investigation and others in which a journalistic cover may have been used would not only disclose sensitive investigative techniques but also — in recognition of the chilling effect — “would allow criminals to judge whether they should completely avoid any contacts with documentary film crews, rendering the investigative technique ineffective.” ...

“By admitting that FBI impersonation of documentary filmmakers makes individuals less likely to speak to documentary filmmakers, the government is highlighting the very reason the Reporters Committee filed this FOIA case: the chilling effect this government practice has on journalism,” said Katie Townsend, the Reporters Committee’s legal director. “The public already knows that the FBI engages in this practice; the FBI’s widely reported ‘Longbow Productions’ front is the prime example. The public is entitled to understand how frequently, and under what circumstances, the FBI does it.” ...

“Impersonation of journalists and filmmakers is not, in our view, an appropriate law enforcement tactic,” said Townsend of the Reporters Committee. “When FBI agents masquerade as journalists, it threatens the independence and credibility of actual journalists; it can also jeopardize their safety. If a source believes that a journalist is actually a government agent, they may be unwilling to speak to that journalist at all. And in some cases, a journalist or filmmaker might be in danger if a source believes she or he is a law enforcement agent pretending to be a journalist.”

Portland Protest Shows New Far-Right Trend: Multiethnic Groups with Fascist Heroes Like Pinochet

This far-right group is trying to drag leftists into an unwinnable PR war

For someone running for Senate in Washington, Joey Gibson spends a lot of time out of state. Despite his candidacy, Gibson is best known as the founder of Patriot Prayer, a conservative group which publicly disavows racism but has a record for throwing rallies that attract violent white supremacists. And over the last few months, his group has made regular appearances in Portland, a liberal enclave that they claim needs to be “cleansed.”

His strategy appears to focus more on creating moments that will make leftists look violent — and himself look like a victim. ... VICE News went to the source to see how street protests are spiraling into an online PR war.

Berkeley police under fire for publishing anti-fascist activists' names and photos

Berkeley police have arrested more than a dozen anti-fascist activists and posted their names and photos on Twitter, raising concerns that the department was encouraging harassment and abuse. Law enforcement’s unusual decision to immediately publicize the personal information and faces of arrested leftwing demonstrators on social media has sparked intense backlash. Critics have accused police of aiding the far right and endangering counter-protesters with “public shaming” and targeted arrests for alleged minor offenses.

The California police agency said it had arrested 20 people on Sunday at an “alt-right” rally, citing many of them for “possession of a banned weapon” or “working with others to commit a crime”. Most, if not all, of the people arrested were counter protesters, according to lawyers and activists working with demonstrators. The department posted many of their names, photos and cities of residence on its official Twitter account on Sunday before anyone was formally charged. As of early Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the local district attorney told the Guardian that Berkeley police had not yet brought the cases to prosecutors for consideration.

“This is very disturbing,” said Veena Dubal, a University of California law professor and former Berkeley police review commissioner. “It seems like a public-shaming exercise, which is not the role of the police department ... They are making it really accessible for folks who might wish these people harm to locate them.”

The controversy comes as police agencies in California and across the country have repeatedly faced scrutiny for working with neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups by shielding leaders of those organizations and arresting and prosecuting anti-fascists participating in counter demonstrations. Events organized by Trump supporters and the far right have repeatedly devolved into violent clashes in the US, with anti-fascists accusing police of using excessive force against the left. ...

Some said Berkeley’s decision to post mugshots was akin to the increasingly common rightwing tactic of “doxxing” anti-fascists, meaning publishing people’s private information online as part of an intimidation effort. By Monday morning, Fox News and other major publications had posted the photos and names.

New Charlottesville Doc Exposes Neo-Nazi Leaders & Their Ties to U.S. Military & Weapons Contractors

'Among the Biggest Grifters in American History': Wilbur Ross Accused of Stealing More Than $120 Million

As the flagrant and often downright bizarre corruption of so many current and former Trump administration officials has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, White House Commerce Secretary and mega-millionaire Wilbur Ross's long history of crooked profiteering has frequently slipped under the radar. But a deeply reported investigation published by Forbes on Tuesday—which includes the testimony of more than 20 people who previously worked with Ross in the private sector—alleges that Trump's commerce secretary could "rank among the biggest grifters in American history."

The allegations of Ross's former business associates reach far beyond the ultra-wealthy investor's alleged penchant for stealing "handfuls of Sweet'N Low packets" from restaurants and making fake pledges to charity. "Many of those who worked directly with him claim that Ross wrongly siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there, huge amounts for most but not necessarily for the commerce secretary. At least if you consider them individually," Forbes notes. "But all told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million."


According to David Storper, a private equity manager who worked alongside Ross at the firm WL Ross & Co, claims that Ross "stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork." Responding to the Forbes investigation on Twitter, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called Ross "a cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat with no interest in anyone but himself. He has shady ties to Russia and China, serious business conflicts, and a history of cheating people out of their homes."


By Tripling Its Stock Buybacks, Apple Robs Workers And The Economy

According to financial results released yesterday, Apple spent $20.8 billion buying back its own stock in the last three months, not quite the $22.8 billion it spent in the first quarter of this year, when it set a record buying back more than any company in the history of the S&P 500. In May, Apple announced a $100 billion share repurchase program and so far in 2018 it’s tripled its share repurchases over the first half of last year. S&P 500 companies are on track to return a record $1 trillion (via buybacks and dividends) to shareholders, and Apple is leading the way.

Stock buybacks were outlawed until 1982, when the SEC changed its rules to allow companies to repurchase shares on the open market, although doing so can artificially boost the stock price. CEOs and other corporate executives benefit the most from this behavior because their compensation, unlike that of rank-and-file workers, is closely tied to stock performance. ... These actions disproportionately favor senior management and direct funds away from more productive purposes, such as corporate investment, job creation, or increased worker pay.

“Lowe’s, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers a raise of $18,000 a year,” Annie Lowrey writes, covering the report for The Atlantic. “Starbucks could have given each of its employees $7,000 a year, and McDonald’s could have given $4,000 to each of its nearly 2 million employees.” Companies direct 10 times as much money to buybacks as to workers, according to another analysis Lowrey cites in her story for The Atlantic. “Workers around the country have been pushing for higher wages, but the answer is always, ‘We can’t afford it. We’d have to do layoffs or raise prices,’” NELP’s Tung told Lowrey. “That is just not true. The money is there. It’s just getting siphoned out of the company instead of reinvested into it.”



the horse race



Minnesota Attorney General — Now Democratic Frontrunner for Governor — Relied on Government Employees for Campaign Work, They Say

Lori Swanson, Minnesota's three-term attorney general and current candidate for governor, has presided over an office culture in which professional success is linked to the willingness of employees to participate in Swanson’s campaign work, eight former and current employees of the attorney general’s office told The Intercept.

Swanson, a moderate Democrat who was first elected in 2007, has kept a remarkably low profile throughout her 11 years in office, largely avoiding crowds and close media coverage. Just last month, Minnesota Public Radio described her as “an atypically private politician who runs a tightly-controlled office and makes few public appearances.” Unlike nearly all other politicians across the country, she maintains no personal or professional presence on Twitter or Facebook. None of this is by accident, according to sources familiar with Swanson. Lawyers and other employees who have worked for her describe a highly politicized office in which burnishing Swanson’s image is a primary focus.

The lawyers and other staffers in the attorney general’s office interviewed for this article said they felt pressured to carry out tasks like stuffing envelopes for the benefit of the campaign and scheduling campaign events, sometimes during the work day. They said they felt their promotions and pay raises were based partly on participation in political campaigns. Attorneys reported foregoing basic legal work to instead correspond with constituents and defend the office’s and Swanson’s reputation in various public relations campaigns — work they said they felt was political. Multiple sources reported that these office dynamics began as early as Swanson’s first year in office and continued through this year.

It is not illegal for politicians to invite their employees to get involved with their campaigns. However, Minnesota law bars the use of “official authority or influence” to compel employees to engage in political activity.





the evening greens


Court Rules that Portland Oil Terminal Ban Does Not Violate the Commerce Clause

In a big win for the City of Portland, Oregon, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a ruling that the city had not violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by voting to ban any new fossil fuel terminals within its borders.“ This is a major victory for the climate and our communities,” said Maura Fahey, staff attorney at Crag Law Center, which represented environmental groups intervening in the case, in a statement. “Industry couldn’t even get its foot in the door of the courtroom to try to overturn the City’s landmark law. This sends a powerful message to local communities that now is the time to take action to protect our future.”

This ruling could have important implications for other communities fighting fossil fuel projects because the court ruled that the city’s ban did not violate the Commerce Clause, which is the main argument the oil industry has used against bans like the ones in Portland, Oregon and other cities. The Commerce Clause gives Congress the sole power to regulate interstate and foreign trade, and oil companies have argued that bans like the one in Portland are impacting interstate trade. With this ruling, the Oregon Court of Appeals has dealt a significant blow to that legal argument.

The Canadian tar sands industry has been looking for more ways to get its product to foreign markets, especially after the cancellation of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline to Quebec and New Brunswick and the delays in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia. This tar sands transportation challenge has led to industry efforts across the U.S. to develop new infrastructure such as oil-by-rail terminals and pipelines in port cities. Canadian oil-by-rail exports to the U.S. just set a new record in June. As DeSmog has reported before, the oil industry has been clear about wanting to expand its options to get oil to the West Coast and port cities like Portland, Oregon.

However, serious local opposition has led to several major proposed oil-by-rail terminals being blocked on the West Coast in the past several years — including what would have been the largest such terminal in the country in Vancouver, Washington. This new ruling in Oregon appears to be a path for other port cities to issue a blanket ban on new oil infrastructure projects instead of having to fight them on a project-by-project basis. And cities have been doing just that.

Celebrations as Baltimore Set to Become First Major American City to Outlaw Water Privatization

Human rights advocates and union workers are celebrating as Baltimore is poised to become the first major American city to amend its charter to bar privatization of the public water system.

Baltimore's City Council on Monday approved a charter amendment that deems the water supply and sewer systems "inalienable," and prohibits the sale or lease of the systems. The vote was nearly unanimous—one council member reportedly recused herself and another was absent.

"Access to clean and affordable water should be looked at as a basic human right," asserted City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who waived council rules to fast-track the vote. "I have always been a proponent of retaining our city's assets, which is why I am completely opposed to the privatization of Baltimore's water system."

The amendment must be signed by Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh—who has expressed her support for it—by Aug. 13 before residents get the final say through a ballot measure vote in November.

The council's move on Monday came as a loud retort to years of lobbying by corporations interested in Baltimore's water system—including the French company Suez Environment, which spent several weeks of last year pitching a takeover to city officials. Human rights advocates have fiercely opposed the privatization proposals.


Largest wildfire in California's history expected to burn for rest of August

California’s biggest wildfire on record is expected to burn for the rest of the month, fire officials said on Tuesday, as hot and windy conditions challenged thousands of fire crews battling eight major blazes burning out of control across the state.

The Mendocino Complex grew to span 1,176 sq km (454 sq miles) by Tuesday morning, with barely a third of it contained since two wildfires merged at the southern tip of the Mendocino national forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said.

It is the largest of eight major fires burning out of control across California, prompting Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in the state. On Monday, twin fires north of San Francisco burning just miles apart became the largest collective wildfire in state history after destroying more than 1,147 sq km (443 sq miles) of forest and rural land across an area nearly the size of Los Angeles. ...

Temperatures could reach 43C (110F) in northern California over the next few days, with winds fanning the flames of the complex, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.



Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

The American Sea of Deception

Why did New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger meet with Trump?

For Parents Deported Without Their Children, Lack of Information From the U.S. Government Is Excruciating

Will the Trump Administration Attack Iran?

The Mystery Fixer Who is Negotiating an End to the Syrian War

The Deficit That Will Eat the Budget and Other Ever-Popular Scare Stories

Caribbean states beg Trump to grasp climate change threat: 'War has come to us'


A Little Night Music


Aretha Franklin - Think

Aretha Franklin - Rock Steady

Aretha Franklin - Something He Can Feel

Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)

Aretha Franklin - Do Right Woman, Do Right Man

Aretha Franklin - Just Right Tonight

Aretha Franklin - Since You've Been Gone (Sweet, Sweet Baby)

Aretha Franklin - Dr. Feelgood

Aretha Franklin - Spirit In The Dark

Aretha Franklin - Chain Of Fools

Aretha Franklin - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction



Share
up
19 users have voted.

Comments

ggersh's picture

First they came for

the country still hasn't hit bottom

up
16 users have voted.

The US markets will be closed tomorrow in honor of George H. W. Bush.

We should have a memorial day for the truth, which we have allowed to be led down the blind alley of our willful delusions, and strangled.

Lord have mercy on us.

@ggersh and crew about making Jones a martyr essentially. He'll gain credibility with his audience. More divide and conquer. Scary times.

up
13 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@lizzyh7

up
9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

@divineorder Makes me remember studying constitutional law and then following it with interest in a casual way over the years.

This makes sense to me:

up
9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

yep. there's a certain portion of what has become the infrastructure of the internet that our society now requires to become public utilities due to the reliance of the public upon them and the inappropriate management of them by their pirate-sector owners.

up
11 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack

up
4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

Good evening joe and all, whew, what a lineup of so much predatory capitalist fail.

EB comment.jpgLions finishing up the carcass of a buffalo kill, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, May, 2018.

Won't be much left than skin and bones around here as well if we can't stop them.

Impeach !

https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13045

Donald Trump's gross violations of the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution are now so in-your-face that for Congress members to continue avoiding impeachment will mean the clear sanctioning of virtually limitless corruption.

Click here to email your Congress member to come out for impeachment now.

Literally since day one, inauguration day 2017, we have made the case for impeachment on the grounds of emoluments. An emolument is typically a financial benefit, and the domestic emoluments clause (Article II, Section 1) forbids the president receiving any emoluments from the U.S. government or any state government. This ban is absolute, not waivable by Congress, and not subject to proving any particular corrupting influence.

President Trump's lease of the Old Post Office Building in Washington D.C. violates the General Services Administration lease contract which states: "No … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom." The GSA's failure to enforce that contract constitutes an emolument. We said that a year and a half ago. But here's the latest.:

The GSA has given Trump's business a half million dollars for "security, utilities and janitorial services" to support tours of the building's clock tower run by the National Park Service, and has been unable to explain how the amount was calculated. Some news outlets have noticed. Has Congress?

And a U.S. district court is proceeding with a case brought against Trump by Washington D.C. and the state of Maryland for violating the emoluments clause. Sadly, a court case over an impeachable offense cannot possibly do what's needed: impeachment and removal from office.

Email your Representative now and demand that they represent you on this.

Trump's violations of the foreign emoluments clause (Article I, Section 9) are growing ever more blatant as well. The Trump International Hotel in Manhattan saw increased revenue this past spring thanks to a visit by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, or rather by a portion of his entourage. One thing that the DC/Maryland lawsuit could do is produce a longer list of Trump's foreign government customers.

You know what else would produce that list of foreign government customers?

An impeachment hearing. And Trump's refusal to produce that list would constitute a quintessentially and Nixonian impeachable offense.

Enough is enough. The corruption is shameless and far from harmless. The biggest human catastrophe on earth right now is the crisis in Yemen created by a Saudi-U.S. war. Saudi Arabia this week kicked out its ambassador from Canada for objecting to Saudi human rights abuses. The United States has no such objections, but does have a president raking in money from Saudi's royal family.

up
9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

yes, emoluments clause violations are an excellent reason to hold impeachment hearings. that charge and many others stand a far greater chance of success than russiarussiarussia, which frankly, can never be tried in public due to the need to protect the almighty "sources and methods."

but, then again, perhaps the democrats have no need to impeach trump, since his policy differences with them are small and they are all about equally corrupt. perhaps they merely need to appear to be an opposition party.

up
10 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack will get us what?

" a dime by the dozen"

Hey, came across a hit piece on the hit piece magnet Tulsi. Seems she has a MIC opponent now?

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/08/congresswoman-tulsi-gabbards-loony-fore...

Angie • 3 days ago

After doing a bit of research, as a Hawaii resident I'm quite shocked at what I found - but it makes sense now. In reading the background on Campagna's business resumé, she was the project director for two years for AECOM. They did all kinds of work in the Middle East for the military. Maybe that's why she's so hawkish for invading countries. She wants the US Military to invade all these countries so she can rebuild them.

As I noted earlier, Sherry Campagna said that if elected, she wants to use her position in congress to advocate for and bring about regime change wars in Syria, Egypt, and oddly, India -- the world's largest democracy.

I'm surprised that Campagna considers working for AECOM her "environmentalist credentials." She knows how to work to destroy environments so they can rebuild. Maybe their rebuilding uses solar power or something. "We're getting rid of all these third world countries that are using coal or sticks to heat their homes. We blow them up and then we build new homes with solar power there."

up
6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

i'm sure that gabbard has pissed off party insiders enough that she will pick up a well-funded opponent.

up
8 users have voted.
QMS's picture

So sweet. Also glad to hear you are doing comedy too!

“I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump added.

Ha, even if it is dark humor, it's funny as hell. Wink

up
11 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, i have on occasion been accused of having a dark sense of humor. i will say that though i despise trump, he has given me more than a presidential portion of laughter.

up
8 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

Calls like this? We blocked the number on android phone but still left visual voicemail.

"Our record show that you do not have current health insurance by law every US citizen must be insured with Health Care or you may incur substantial fine being on insured. There are many programs available in your state that you may be eligible for. Press one to learn about these new health insurance programs. Press five to be removed from these notifications. "

up
6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

QMS's picture

@divineorder They gave up on the IRS penalties against the uninsured, I think, awhile back. Nea

up
7 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

divineorder's picture

@QMS @QMS Sucks to get these kinds of calls and know some will be screwed by these operators.

up
8 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

snoopydawg's picture

@divineorder

They tell me that there is a problem with my last tax filing and I need to call them immediately or be charged with fraud.

I'm also getting one from PayPal saying that some university has sent me $800 for some reason. The emai address looks valid and I've never clicked on it, but how many other people did?

The do not call list is a joke and imagine if the intelligence agencies were trying to stop the scams as hard as they are pushing Russia Gate.

up
8 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg I posted a link to Askbobrankin.com article spam calls awhile back.

We used to get so many when we had a dial up line that we never answered the phone.

We got cell phones and did away with the landline years ago, and for many years after we went on the Do Not Call list we were fine.

Yes, I am quite sure that many fall victim to these.

Hope all is well with you.

up
6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

the latest one i got was from some spammer in washington (state) telling me that i had received a government grant for $9000. - no need to ever pay it back, call immediately to set up a direct deposit to my bank account!

up
6 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

" Night at States treasury department. This is the final attempt to reach you treasury department has filed a lawsuit against you regarding tax efficiency and tax fraud. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid federal law. For any further information immediately speak to a federal agent call back number 315-646-8340. I repeat 315-646-8340. Thank you. "

up
9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

i'd really love to get about a thousand volunteers to keep calling the number of one of those scammers and have the volunteers hector the people on the other end about when their free penis enlargement pills will arrive.

up
8 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack such.

up
4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

up
9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Azazello's picture

Here's a couple of good Jimmy Dore vids with John Kiriakou:
Part 1, 17 min.
Part 2, 9 min.
And this, from Ian Welsh: (A Just World) Hang’em High

In a just world, all the leaders responsible for doing nothing (including corporate leaders) would be hung high and all their property confiscated (including that given to relatives and friends). This is going to lead to well over a billion preventable deaths, is genocidal for other species and may be genocidal for ours. As crimes goes it will be seen to exceed those of Genghis Khan by a wide margin.

Criminal negligence IS a crime.

up
12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the links!

i couldn't agree with ian welsh more. i am generally not inclined towards the death penalty or cruel punishments, but i have to admit that the scope and scale of the crimes of our elite politicians and captains of industry make me think that there is not enough piano wire to handle the job in my darker moments.

up
6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
Perfect guy for Commerce Sec. Maybe Trump could appoint Chapo Guzman as head of the DEA.

up
5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

as they say, you should count your fingers after shaking wilbur ross' hand.

up
5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

IMG_1702.JPG

Manafort being charged is a joke. So many others have done what he has, but they are still walking around free. Why did Podesta get immunity for doing what Manafort did? Connections to the Clintons perhaps?

The number of companies that open an offshore company just so they don't have to pay their taxes keeps growing.

up
8 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

The Aspie Corner's picture

up
5 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

joe shikspack's picture

snoopydawg's picture

VIPS Plead for Humanitarian Asylum for Julian Assange

On July 12, 2018, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) sent out a ruling11 that was virtually unnoticed by US news media. The IACHR found “it is the duty of nations to allow for the passage of successful asylum seekers from embassies to the mainland territory of the state that has granted an individual asylum.

For Julian Assange, this would mean that, according to the Court’s decision, Britain has a legal obligation to allow Julian Assange to exit the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in peace and allow for his safe transit to an airport from which he would be able to fly to Ecuador, the country that has granted Assange asylum and where he now also holds formal citizenship.

“[I]t is imperative,” the ruling states, “that Assange is allowed to make the safe passage to Ecuador demanded by the Court as his physical and mental health conditions have been described as deteriorating rapidly. If, nevertheless, UK authorities insist on arresting Assange, “the British government will have wantonly failed to uphold Assange’s rights as a legitimate receiver of asylum by Ecuador.”

The IACHR ruling suggests further that outright abuses occurred when Ecuador removed security assigned for Assange;when the UK rejected Ecuador’s request for safe passage of Assange to Ecuador; and when the US obstructed efforts to end Assange’s virtual imprisonment.

It's my understanding that Moreno is breaking Ecuadorian law by not protecting an Ecuadorian citizen which Assange is because no charges have been brought against him.

The U.K. recently refused to extradite one of its citizens because the US would not promise to not seek the death penalty for him. The U.K. should be ashamed of its hypocrisy. And for being a puppet.

up
9 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

law? what law? international law is meant to restrain countries that are easy targets for the military might of superpowers. superpowers have impunity.

up
10 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

it when, not the government, but the Security State and corporate interests merge?

up
8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

what is it?

up
3 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack

up
3 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

probably from somewhere in the vicinity of mena, arkansas. Smile

up
1 user has voted.
Big Al's picture

"Russiagate is a cover to conceal the really disturbing scandal which was, and continues to be, the attempt to subvert American democracy by US intelligence agencies working in cahoots with the Obama administration and Clinton's election campaign. To cover up those crimes, Russia is being maligned for "attacking American democracy"."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49980.htm

What democracy Finian? Ever heard of Eugene Debs, W.E.B. Dubois and countless others in the past who long before the CIA and Russiagate told the truth about this system?

Cunningham mentions Paul Craig Roberts latest article:

"The Russiagate claims are just a sideshow. As American writer Paul Craig Roberts, among others, has commented, the media-driven "witch hunt" against Trump and Russia is blown out of all proportion in order to distract from the real scandal which is Intelgate — and how millions of American voters were potentially disenfranchised by the US intelligence apparatus for a political power grab.
Another staggering hypocrisy in the US media kerfuffle over Trump and alleged Russian interference is that all the fastidious hyperbole completely ignores actual foreign interference in American democracy — foreign interference that is on an absolutely colossal scale."

As American critical thinker Noam Chomsky points out, "Israeli intervention in US elections overwhelms anything Russia may have done".

To me, they both miss the big point which is we don't live in a fucking democracy and the big scandal which is no one wants to talk about that. It's all about the feuding for power at the top, not about the fact that our political system is FUBAR no matter what outside or inside interference there is.

Sickening. I should write an essay for debate, but I just did. No one wants to debate this anyway.

up
10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Big Al

the idea that we u.s. citizens live in a (functioning) democracy is so discredited by even the most cursory perusal of our political circumstances that i don't think anybody would debate that proposition.

i suppose the real debate is (still) what to do about it and how to proceed - a tough debate indeed.

up
7 users have voted.
Big Al's picture

@joe shikspack considering the number of people still playing the game. I mean, why play the game if you know it's rigged and fake? Not only play the game, but like with Cunningham and Roberts, why the day to day focus on the actions of the ruling classes while saying they're ruining democracy? Why worry about Tulsi Gabbard when you know it doesn't make a bit of difference?

Something happened to something a while back and when I would visit Global Research, which I do daily, the first page would be a list of the articles published six years ago. Of course, I remembered many of them, I've been going there quite some time, but if a normal person didn't see the dates of 2011/2012, they wouldn't realize those articles were six years old. Point being, we're going round and round here and somehow we need to get off the carousel.

up
6 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@Big Al

Why worry about Tulsi Gabbard when you know it doesn't make a bit of difference?

Why pay attention to news about the odd one who pushes back against the MIC?

I wouldn't read so much into curiosity about people BA.

Just something to talk about 'while Rome burns.'

Have a good one.

up
4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

have to wait until my hotspost plan turns over, before I can play all of them--bummer! She's always been one of my favorite vocalists, but, of course, I grew up listening to my older Brother's (era) music, and a lot of it was 'soul.'

I've got a Tweet to post of Kasich, from this past Sunday (ABC's This Week). IMO, this is a 'proxy' contest. If centrist/conservative Dem Danny O'Connor wins, John Kasich will almost for certain challenge DT--either as a Repub (which O'Connor's win would help him to that end, this evening), or, he'll run as a 'No Labels' Independent. Apparently, moneybags/businessman Greg Orman is considering launching another run as a 'No Labels' Independent for Governor of Kansas.

Regarding Ohio's 12th, Dem candidate O'Connor refused to endorse MFA, and ran on the 'No Labels' "Speakers Project" platform--of getting rid of Nancy, one way or the other. O'Connor was also careful not to criticize DT--saying he would reach across the isle, and work with him/Repubs where he could. IOW--he's another (PA) Connor Lamb Conservadem.

Will drop back by, and edit this comment to include some stats about the 12 District (of Ohio). It is obvious that this particular is anything but indicative of a typical suburban district, per the NYT. I'm not sure that their piece is on this laptop, but if it is, I'll post it. Otherwise, I'll rely the info (the best I can) by memory. Which is not to say that there is nothing to the premise that the suburban vote which is generally higher educated, won't swing to the Dems, even in a lean-Republican District.

From what I've read, Danny O'Connor did say that he would not vote to raise the eligibility age for entitlements; however, he did not say he would not 'fix'--read 'cut'--them. Apparently, the New Dem Caucus has had a bipartisan bill waiting in the wings for quite some time--to create a Social Security 'Commission' to propose 'fixes' to the program. After 'O' spent the better part of 8 years trying to strike a Grand Bargain (with Pelosi's and Reid's backing), I don't trust the assurances of any Dem candidate on this topic.

I'll go ahead and wish folks a nice evening, since it may be a couple hours before the race reveals the winner. Thanks for tonight's rendition of EB, Joe. It's very helpful, especially now that I've got considerably less time to spend on ferreting out 'the news.'

Smile

Stay cool, if you can! (It's miserably hot and humid, here.)

Bye

Mollie/Blue Onyx (Reverting to my original handle)

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."~~W. R. Purche

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”~~Martin Luther King Jr.

up
5 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

looking forward to the info. james carville has been emailing the crap out of danny o'connor. i get several emails a day from carville or some other demoturd begging me to donate a dollar.

as if.

up
5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack

are going to trickle in, so, I'll save further comment until tomorrow. I did grab this screenshot of the race results about 20-30 minutes ago--obviously, it's in a dead heat, with the lead switching back and forth.

Ohio 12th Table - August 7, 2018.png

So much of the reporting is misleading. The largest county in the district in a solid blue county--Franklin (County). That's the county where O'Connor is leading. That fact shouldn't be a major surprise, IMO--it's where much (if not all) of OSU (Ohio State University) is located, including the OSU Hospital.

If I can find the NYT link (tomorrow), I'll post it. If I can't locate it, here's the bottom line--the 12th District of Ohio has both the highest educational level--approx 40% have at the minimum a bachelor's degree, and the highest median income in the entire state. So, no--this district is not illustrative of the 'typical' suburban district in the US, no matter how bad the corporatist MSM wants to spin it.

Wink

IMO, this was as ridiculous as when 'talking heads' generally claimed that Mountain Brook (AL) should be compared to the 'average' suburban areas in the US, a claim which was made during the AL Moore-Jones Senate Race a while back.

Later.

Mollie/Blue Onyx (Reverting to my original handle)

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”~~Martin Luther King Jr.

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."~~W. R. Purche

up
3 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

Your aggregate is my primary news source.
(I still list to DemNow! in the mornings as a force of habit, it's what's on the local public radio as I coffee up for my long day building high-rises.)
It's good to see some victories for the people over the oil port in Oregon, and the water in Baltimore.
I'm here everyday, and I consider you and all the other reader/contributors to be my tribe...make of it what you will... special shoutouts to Aspie, Big Al, DetroitMech, Gulfgal, Raggedy Ann, CantStop, Onthecusp, StevenD, and all the other regulars.
I have a lot of personal struggle right now, trying to carve out some kind future/retirement/"permanent" home with what I have left in my "career" (about 10-15 years), and dealing with an adversarial "partnership" with my dad in some property....
I like to know what's going on, but I have to fight these really close in battles before I can take on the rest of the worlds injustices.
Often I am so exhausted by the time I've read it all, I just have to switch off and go pet my ailing canine companion.
Thanks again Joe6pack, still here even if quiet...

up
7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@BORG_US_BORG

thanks for reading! my best to you and your k9 friend.

up
1 user has voted.
dystopian's picture

Great stuff, all that good news. Wink Great Aretha, what a voice. That Sister Rosetta last week or so was great too. Puttin' Wilbur Ross in charge of the Register is pretty funny. What's a missin' mil here, a missin' mil there, 120 times. We are complicit in war crimes in Yemen, not on the news. Julian Assange certainly helped save us from Hillary, they want to kill him for it, the hero. Media blackout, bad as the Bernie blackout. I have to chuckle every time Trump declares a disaster. Thanks again!

up
6 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

thanks for reading!

yep, sister rosetta tharpe was quite an amazing musician. she deserves a lot more notice for her contributions to popular music.

up
1 user has voted.